Painting With Shotguns XXV

Our Dog Is The Most Expensive Dog In The World

No. Seriously. Since the beginning, this dog has metaphorically eaten thousands of dollars of our cash. Like, right out of our wallets and bank accounts. She’s a financial hoover, this one. Siphoning our children’s college educations.

It’s because she has constant health problems. Pro-tip? Do not buy your dog at a mall pet store. I mean, I say that, but of course we got her, and she’s a completely fantastic dog. Cute and funny and strange and everything you’d want in a Chi-Fox Taco Terrier.

She has ear problems. In addition to her skin problems. We once had an allergy test done, and the vet called to read us the allergen report. Nobody answered, so she read it over the voice mail. It might as well have been a 15-minute voice mail. I don’t think there’s a cultivar of grass to which this little pooch is not allergic. She’s basically allergic to everything. Grass. Dust. Oxygen. Blue skies. The sound of birds. Human ennui.

Anyway. Half the time her ears look like a fucking murder scene. Like a bunch of little people killed a bunch of other little people and left them inside her ear canals. That’s what she doing in this image; shaking her head to get the dead bodies out. (It is not her giving you a quizzical look, which is what the picture suggests.)

We took her to a new vet tonight.

This vet, a little less clinical than the last.

He opened her ear, took a deep sniff (after thrusting his nose all up in there), and confirmed: “Yep, that’s an infection.”

I awaited a further report as if he were inhaling the aroma of a nice Shiraz: “It has cherry overtones, and the lingering smell of pipesmoke. Oh, and lots of toxic yeast. Hooboy, it smells like bread and corpses in there!”

The doc was pretty clear: we’ll try a pretty regular set of drops in her ears, and if those don’t at least reduce the inflammation, we’ll have to try either lasers (pyoo pyoo!) or surgery.

Just add it to the list. Chalk it up on the bill.

I just wanted you to know all this, so if you’re ever like, “Hey, Chuck, want to go out to lunch?” And I’m all like, “My dog ate all my money,” then you know what I’m talking about.

Murdering Motherfucking Goblins Left And Right

Did you notice? That the website looks different? Maybe? Kinda? Sorta? No?

I know. I’ve blubbered about it enough. Blah blah blah, website reboot, blah blah blah.

I figured it was worth a status update, at least. I’m smooshing boogers, stepping on bugs, and executing goblins left and right. Comments now have line breaks. Got the RSS feed over there. Got the images in the posts to look right. The news page is up and running. My about page is updated, and has sub-menus (and that is, at present, where the blogroll lives). I added a darker gray gradient on the front page to the left and right of the sliding photo. (In fact, I’d like to get your thoughts on it — I’ve heard some nays, and I’ve heard some yays, so what say you, lords and ladies?)

What else?

Well, I want those main buttons on the main page (the inky question marks) to… well, actually be buttons instead of inert little nipples that don’t do a damn thing when you poke ’em.

I’ve got a message into the theme’s creator to see why the comment cookies don’t seem to be saving. Further, he’s poking into why the Subscribe To Comments plug-in doesn’t do dick.

I’ve got a visual portfolio in mind that uses the ceebox lightbox to pull up sites and images in a cool way that link out to my various projects.

I’m working on a new, more visual, more minimal tag cloud.

I need to see if I can find a good Lifestream plugin. The one I had fell down and went boom.

How’s the site look? Anything else you’d like to see?

Suddenly, My Asshole Hurts

I wonder why.

Oh! Oh. Right. It’s tax season.

And for the freelancer, that’s just sticking a toothpick in your peehole and breaking that badboy off. Snap.

We have a good tax lady. And I did not make the money this year that I did last year, to be frank, so I’m expecting something back. (We freelancers pay quarterly. If we don’t, we take the starring role in the film Rape II: Rape Harder.) Even still, oooof. The freelancer is thrown to the lions in terms of taxes. So, I throw it out to you. Anybody out there a tax genius? Danny Boy, I’m looking at you. Anybody got advice for a freelance penmonkey like myself? I’ve heard tell that some writers make themselves corporations (which sounds like a magic trick — maybe I can be a robot! Or a treehouse!), and that… helps them somehow?

I fade in and out.

Should I do that?

Is that just more misery?

Do I need an accountant?

A wizard?

Is there an altar where I can kill a bird and divine my payments through its entrails?

I’m reaching out.

Food Porn Food Porn Food Porn Food Porn Fooood Pooorn

I don’t talk about food as much on this blog. That’ll change soon. Because somebody went and punted Old Man Winter in the snacks. The robins are outside, poking through the snow, signaling the slow crawl of Spring toward the Seasonal Throne. Once there, it’s not a far cry from the Farmer’s Markets. Very exciting stuff. That means I’m going to do more creative cooking, which means you all get to hear about my (mis)adventures in the kitchen more and more.

Good stuff.

Some snidbits, though, to moisten thine tongue in anticipation:

I Am An Oatmeal Addict

I used to despise oatmeal. It was like gruel. Gluey, gummy, unpleasant all around. But somehow I learned that oatmeal is the perfect conveyance for all kinds of healthy shit. And you can make it delicious!

Things I put in my oatmeal in various combinations?

Golden raspberries! Red raspberries! Strawberries! Honey! Granola! Nuts! Brown sugar! Agave syrup! Genuine maple syrup (don’t be fooled by that fake shit you buy in the grocery store)! Bananas! Fish oil pills!

Mmm. Yeah, maybe not that last one.

I wonder what else I can put in there? Crystallized ginger? Maybe. Apples? When the season hits, I just might. Cinnamon? A-duh. Cardamom? Oooh.

I’m taking suggestions, by the way, for further oatmeal additions.

I haven’t tried the steelcut stuff yet, because it takes too long. Hell, regular oatmeal takes too long. Five minutes? Five minutes is an agony for me. I make it four, and say, “Fuck it, I like it al dente.”

I Am Also An Avocado Addict

Up until… three, four months ago, I don’t know that I’d ever purchased an avocado, much less cooked with one. I was clearly an idiot.

Avocados are supreme. Fatty, smooth, the color of green tea ice cream.

Here’s my guacamole recipe:

Two avocados. Scooped out, smashed up.

A tablespoon of sour cream.

A tablespoon of mayo.

A fistful of cilantro, chopped up.

A pinch of cumin.

A pinch of cayenne.

Two garlic cloves, dicey-diced.

The juice of one lime, fresh-squeezed.

A half-cup to a cup of Your Favorite Salsa. (Saves you from making your own salsa first, but maybe you want to do that. That’s on you.)

Put all that sweet delicious awesomeness right in a bowl, and get it good and mixed.

Oh! Hah. The one thing I always forget, and I almost forgot it here:

Pinch of salt.

That salt and that lime juice just elevate the whole thing to a juicy mouthgasm.

If you were so inclined, though, to not go through that trouble — take one avocado, two tablespoons of mayo, and mash it all together. Then, it can go right on your sandwich as mayo. A smear on the bread, you’re good to go. Oh, and once more: pinch of salt doesn’t hurt.

Kosher salt, if you are in the Cult of Alton. Alton Brown explains use of kosher salt because a) it’s not processed and b) it’s good for easy distribution from the fingers and onto the food.

Mmmm Bison

I’m pretty sure I fought that dude in Street Fighter. Anyway. Just thought I’d add: I had bison last Friday night that melted in my mouth. I’ve had bison in the past and I like it well enough. But this was heavenly. If for some reason you live in this area, check out Maize in Perkasie.

Oh, and I should also add: Fresh Market is now going to carry grassfed beef. Life is good.

Link This, Pal *grabs crotch*

Some quick and tasty links:

I like what the Magic Tidball says here about RPGs and The Hurt Locker. Good info for writers and gamers. Did you know if you shake the Magic Tidball, he always returns with, “Answer unclear, ask again later?”

This here article says that the iPad is the world’s first transmedia device. Agree?

I heartily recommend this interview with Tim O’Brien. Don’t know him? Then I should headbutt you in the sternum. The Things They Carried? C’mon. (Loose inspiration for Hunter: The Vigil, by the way.) My favorite part of the Q&A?

S.P.: What do you do when you hit plateaus? How do you keep advancing? Is there one example of plateauing that you can share-and how you grew through it?

T.O.: When I hit plateaus, I head for the mountains. By that, I mean (or think I mean) that I do all I can to point a story or a novel toward its central human drama, toward its essential human mystery. Often, I’ve found that “plateaus” are the product of ill focus-an individual tree is in sharp relief, but the forest is blurry.

The math of publishing and e-books.

Please, please, please, Jesus. If you’re listening? Make this be about Portal 2? Please? I’ll be a good boy. (Seems like they’re doing some nifty ARG elements.)

Axe Cop continues to be the best thing on the Internets.

Ol’ Dan O’Shea set many to a task, and that task was flash fiction. That unholy task is complete, and the holy water runneth over with blood. Check it out. Some really killer stuff. “Let Us Prey.”